Tag Archives: Tag

How to Monitor Your Flickr Album

The best way to keep tabs on who is linking to your Flickr photo album is through Technorati, the blog-tracking service. But it’s not as straightforward as it could be, so here’s a guide, based almost entirely on that provided by the Technology Evangelist Ed Kohler, for which I offer grateful thanks.

Setting up the Technorati end

Sign up for Technorati if you don’t already have an account.

Go to Technorati’s start claim page, and click on the Blogs tab:

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Scroll to the bottom of the page to the Claim a Blog section and paste in your Flickr.com page into the URL box:

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Click on the Begin Claim button:

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You’ll be taken through a four step process, the next stage of which is to choose your “claim method”. Use the Post Claim method if you’re offered more than one, by clicking on the blue link, as per below:

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In the next screen follow the instructions by selecting the prepared code in the light green box:

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Setting up the Flickr end

This is where it gets trickier: open a second browser window, go to your Flickr account and choose a recent photo that’s public. Choose the “Edit title, description, and tags” link on the right hand side:

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In the description box of the photo delete all existing descriptions (copy them if you like to a text file — you can always paste them back later.)

Copy the code from the Technorati box into the Description field of your Flickr photo, deleting all the stuff that isn’t the link:

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(Removing both other descriptions and the HTML code seems to be important. Without it, it might not work.)

Save changes to the photo:

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Wrapping it Up

Now go back to the Technorati page you were on before and click on the button “Release the Spiders!” This will instruct Technorati to go look at your Flickr page and look for the code:

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When this is complete you should receive a message on the Technorati page saying it’s successfully added your Flickr page to your list of monitored blogs. If it’s unsuccessful, go back to the Flickr image and check

  • the photo is public 
  • you’ve removed all other Description text 
  • you’ve removed the HTML from the link

and try releasing the spiders again.

Monitoring your Flickr photos

So how do you actually keep tabs on the Technorati page?

Once your Flickr page is “claimed” it should appear on your Technorati page (http://technorati.com/people/technorati/[YOURNAME]). Click on the green Authority button below the link to your Flickr page:

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You should see a list of those blogs and websites linking to your photos:

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Either bookmark this page, or else subscribe to its RSS feed. Either way, you should now be able to keep tabs on who’s linking to your Flickr photos.

Software That Plays Tag

This week’s WSJ.com column (subscription only, I’m afraid) is about Jiglu, a sort of automatic tagging service you can see in action somewhere on this blog:

If you’re a writer, you hope your words will be etched in stone for eternity. If you’re a blogger, you’re happy if someone stumbles on your writings a few days after you posted them. Blogs, partly because they often consist mainly of commentary on things that have just happened, and partly because of the way they are structured (most recent postings first, making it easy to ignore everything you wrote before), are a transient medium. Rarely is a blog post treated as permanent. We write, then we forget.

The problem, I conclude, is that amidst all the writing, and despite the power of tagging

Blog posts, left to themselves, tend to have a short shelf life.

Briton Nigel Cannings thinks he has the solution to this: automatic tagging. He sees value in all those old blog posts of mine (he may be the only one) and reckons all that old content out there is a repository of wisdom that just needs to be sorted out better. Tagging it ourselves, he thinks, just isn’t enough because we don’t always see what we’ve written in a broader context. “Manual tagging is the first step” to sorting and storing blogs and other online content better, he says, “but it still relies upon people understanding themselves, whatever they’ve already written about, and how their content fits in with other people’s content.”

More at Loose Wire – WSJ.com.

Technorati Tags: , ,

What’s Been Missing From Blogs

Here’s a very cool blogging tool that fixes a hole in providing supplementary information or footnotes without the user either having to jump to the bottom of the post, to another page, or having a pop-up box obscure what they’re reading (the latter is particularly annoying because it’s been hijacked by interstitial ads like IntelliTXT. These masquerade as links but are in fact irrelevant ads tagged to certain keywords. Anyway, here’s the idea: post it notes on the side of a page that are linked, via color to highlighted text. Like this:

Sidenotes

As you can see, the highlighted text is clearly linked to the box above it, allowing the reader to glean more information without interrupting the flow of the read. The idea comes from arc90, a New York-based technology and strategic consulting firm, which explains it thus:

It’s a dead simple way to include color-coded sidenotes in your blog or web page. What are sidenotes you ask? They’re like footnotes, except cooler. They’re color-coded against highlighted text and sit alongside the main body of text rather than at the bottom.

It’s pretty easy to install, apparently, so much so I might even do it myself. I’ve long felt that linking in blogs (and other web pages for that matter) needed an extra tool which would help add context and the extra information that might otherwise put in footnotes, but not either irritate the user with popups or have them leave your page to get the information. Links are good, but they’re not always the answer. Maybe unobtrusive sidenotes are.

An Outliner That Tags

One of my favorite and most used programs, the MyInfo outliner, is now out in a new version that wraps in tagging, fast searching and other tweaks that put it ahead of the opposition. If you use outliners, check it out, and if you don’t, you might want to consider it. (Outliners are simple free-text databases, organised in a familiar tree format. Great for storing more or less anything you want to keep in one place.)

MyInfo is developed by Milenix, a small software company in Bulgaria. It sells for $50. I’ve been playing with this version, 3.5, and it’s impressive. The tagging is simple but well thought through — a classic example of how tagging can be wrapped into standalone applications to improve organising and finding stuff. Search now works across as many files as you have open, so you can find stuff quickly and efficiently. Gripes? There have been some bugs but Petko, the guy behind it, has been pretty quick to fix them.

A Directory of Social Annotation Tools

Update July 24 2006: Diigo is now live, combining “Social Bookmarking, Web Highlighter, Sticky-Note & Clipping to make it a powerful tool for online research, collaboration and information discovery”. Looks good; I’d be interested in hearing how people get on with it.

Social annotation, sometimes called web annotation, is back. Put simply, it’s software that allows users to “leave” comments on webpages they visit, so that others visiting the page,  and using the same software, can see their comments. Used well, it’s very useful, as useful as Amazon book reviews, say. Used badly it ends up laden down with offensive and sophomoric graffiti. A few years back (around 1999/2000, if I recall. I’m thinking uTok and ThirdVoice) there were quite a few of these around. Most have gone. Now, with social tagging and blogs, perhaps it’s time for a comeback. (I’m not including any social bookmarking tool here; I guess the distinction is that these tools allow the comments to be read without the surfer leaving the site itself. For ordinary clippings tools go here.)

Here’s the beginnings of a list:

  • WizLite “allows you to highlight text (like on real paper) on any page on the Internet and share it with everybody (or just your friends).” Nicely executed, though development has been sporadic.
  • trailfire marks “web pages that interest you and add your comments. Stitch them together to form a trail. Send trails to your friends, post them in your blog, or publish them on Trailfire.com. Use Trailfire to communicate your own view of the web.” Yes, I’m not quite sure what it means either.
  • Diigo combines “social bookmarking, clippings, in situ annotation, tagging, full-text search of everything, easy sharing and interactions.” Now live.
  • Squidoo lets you join thousands of people making their own “lenses” on their favorite stuff and ideas. It’s fast, fun and free. (And you could even get paid).
  • Jeteye enables users to create, send, view and share any type of online content, add notes and annotations and save it all in user organized Jetpaks™ through an easy drag and drop interface.
  • Chatsum “is a FREE add-on for your web browser that lets you chat with all the other Chatsum users that are looking at the same website as you.” (thanks, pieman)
  • Gabbly  “enables people to instantly connect and collaborate around any content, topic or interest.”
  • Wikalong “is a Firefox Extension that embeds a wiki in the Sidebar of your browser, which corresponds to the current page you are viewing. In its simplest form, a wiki-margin for the internet, but it can be much more.” I like this one because it makes best use of the sidebar. But it’s basic and only works on Firefox.
  • BlogEverywhere “is a simple way for you to log your thoughts and comments on any web page “without leaving it” . It enables you to have a conversation with other readers of that page.” (Thanks, Charles)
  • stickis by activeweave “is a simple and unobtrusive part of your web experience: wherever you are, stickis are there with you, helping you see, compose, and remix all the web, your way.” Still in closed alpha, so I’m not quite sure what that means.
  • Annozilla is another Firefox extension that is “designed to view and create annotations associated with a web page”.
  • Boingle “is a stripped down social annotation system that lets you annotate within web pages with the result being a simple markup (“Boingles (2)”) that looks as though it belongs in the page, much as a link titled “Comments (4)” looks normal within a blog. It is very understated in nature, and lets the annotation content itself be the star.”
  • HyLighter “extends the potential of documents as a medium for the negotiation of meaning. Use HyLighter to make what you understand more transparent and how you understand more effective.” Whatever that means. Website seems to be idle.
  • Plum Why is collecting and sharing, beyond photos and email, so hard? Why can’t I put all my favorite stuff in one place? (still in private beta; it’s not as hard as it was before, guys)

Please do let me know what I’ve left out; I’m sure there’s more. I do get the feeling that this kind of thing is going to make a comeback. But the ones which work will be those that allow either everyone, or groups of users to see each other’s comments on web pages, and to leverage tagging and other new things we’ve gotten used to see comparable pages. And some way of filtering out the silliness would be good.

technorati tags: , , ,

Searching for Tags

Denis Sinegubko tells me of his new tag searching facility in his software FirstStop WebSearch. Here’s an excerpt from his FirstStop Blog: Social Bookmarks in FirstStop WebSearch which explains it in more detail:

The pre-installed (in version 4.2) category “Social Bookmarks” contains the following search sources: LookSmart’s Furl.net, CiteULike.org, and Zniff.com, a search engine for the Spurl.net. Anticipating your question about del.icio.us, I can tell you that we didn’t include this very popular social bookmarks manager only because it doesn’t have a search facility.

Sounds like an interesting tool.

Technorati’s New (Beta) Look

Dave Sifry on Technorati Weblog announces a new Public Beta:

I’m pleased to announce the launch of the public beta of this major redesign of the Technorati service. We’ve been listening to your feedback, and we hope we’ve reflected that in this release. This is a beta. So, if you have feedback, please tell us because we want to know what is of value to you, our users. We’ve made a big step with this release. Having said that, we also know we have more improvements to make and we’re working hard to implement them. Here are some of the highlights of this beta release:

* We’ve improved the user experience, making Technorati accessible to more people and, specifically, people who are new to blogging. We’ve tried to make it very simple to understand what Technorati is all about, and make it easy to understand how we’re different from other search engines.
* We’ve learned from the incredible success of tags, and brought some of the those same features into search, as well as expanding tag functionality. Now, if your search matches a tag, we bring in photos and links from flickr, furl, delicious, and now buzznet as well.
* We now have more powerful advanced search features. You can now click the “Options” link beside any search box for power searching options.
* We’ve added more personalization. Sign in, and you’ll see your current set of watchlists, claimed blogs, and profile info, right on the homepage, giving you quick access to the stuff you want as quickly as possible.
* New Watchlist capabilities have been added. For example, you no longer need a RSS reader to watch your favorite searches. Now you can view all of your favorite searches on one page. Of course, you can still get your watchlists via RSS, and it is even easier to create new watchlists. You can also get RSS feeds for tagged posts, just check the bottom of each page of tag results!